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History Of Our
Famous 'Big Chicken'

Information courtesy
The Big Chicken.Com

The The Big Chicken was built in 1963 by S.R. "Tubby" Davis as a method of advertising a restaurant on U.S. 41, a main thoroughfare through Marietta, Georga.

At seven stories, it was one of tallest structures in Marietta at the time. The Big Chicken quickly became a landmark for people travelling by car.

Directions were often given, to "turn right at the Big Chicken" or, something was just "one mile from the Big Chicken." Folklore has it that even airline pilots used it as a navigational landmark.

The 56 feet high structure was designed by an unidentified Georgia Tech architectural student. It was initially designed to withstand 100 mph winds, with operating eyes, beak and a comb which moved with any passing breeze.

Although the structure was sturdy, the mechanical movements when the eyes and beak moved created excessive vibration, sometimes to the extent of breaking windows. At some point the owners did discontinue efforts to keep the mechanics operating.

The unit was fabricated by Atlantic Steel and erected at the site of the Johnny Reb's Chick, Chuck and Shake, which was a drive-in chicken and hamburger restaurant.

In 1966 S.R. Davis sold the restaurant to this brother A.T. Davis who owned one of the early Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises.

In 1974 Kentucky Fried Chicken (K.F.C.) leased the restaurant which was one of the highest dollar volume K.F.C. operations until the construction of I-75 parallel to U.S. 41 relocated the traffic through the area.

In January 1993, heavy winds damaged the Big Chicken with sheet metal being ripped off of the structure. At the time, K.F.C. voiced concern over repairing the structure, and after overwhelming public support, not just in Marietta but around the entire metro area, K.F.C. did repair the structure, and also made the beak and eye mechanics operational.

People were overjoyed that their beloved Big Chicken was saved.

It continues to be a big tourism attraction for Marietta.

In fact, visitors now can purchase the various menu items available at K.F.C. restaurants and view historic materials, including pieces of the original structure maintained on display. Also, visitors may now purchase souvenirs and gifts from the Gift Shop located in the restaurant.

Location: The Big Chicken is located at US 41 and Roswell Street.

Information courtesy
The Big Chicken.Com

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